Jennifer D. Wade Journal

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The Verdict

The big news today - a ruling in the case involving HAZLETON's Illegal Immigration Relief Act (IIRA).  That's the law the city tried to enact last year to crack down on illegal immigrants by punishing businesses who hire them and landlords who rent to them.

In March, the case went to federal court in Scranton.  This afternoon, Judge James Munley handed down his ruling.  You can read all 206 pages of it HERE

The condensed version is that the judge ruled the IIRA unconstitutional because a) it violates the 14TH AMENDMENT and b) it steps on powers held by the federal government.  The ruling prevents Hazleton from ever enforcing the IIRA and has implications for communities around the country that passed similar laws.

Before the ruling came out, a co-worker asked which way I thought it would go.  I said I thought the judge would rule in favor of the plaintiffs and against the city.  My reasoning was that, in my opinion, the IIRA actually punishes legal citizens by subjecting them to fines if they aid illegals by giving them a job or a home.  That didn't seem right to me (and I think that's probably where the 14th Amendment comes in).

After the ruling, I was listening to some of the reaction.  Of couse, Hazleton will appeal and the attorney for the city said he thought there are a lot of grounds because the judge's opinion is so long and covers a lot of territory (apparently, a simple "no" would have been harder to challenge).  I'm wondering if the judge didn't get a little wordy on purpose - intentionally leaving lots of room to appeal this case and this issue all the way to the Supreme Court.

BTW, I wanted to link Munley's name to his biography, but the website for the MIDDLE DISTRICT of Pennsylvania is down for maintenance.  Coincidence?  Or something more??????

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